Tips for Running A Half Marathon Without Completely Dying

half marathon training plan

We know why half marathoners look so happy at the finish line. They survived a grueling 13.1 miles, and can now collapse into a well-deserved heap of glory; get to wear those sweet medals around their necks for eternity (or at least until the next big race). But before you can even think about being a successful half marathoner, completing one without feeling fully exhausted or dying is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Long distance runners and people that do a half marathon training plan need to be well aware of the sport’s demands, risks, and dangers. A lot can go wrong while pushing your body to its limits, so being as prepared as possible is crucial to a safe and successful experience.

March 2014, 16-year-old “Cameron Gallagher”, who passed away after crossing the finishing line at the Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach, is a tragic reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself while running long distances. It’s not just about being in good shape or running fast, but overall smart strategy, pacing, nutrition, hydration, and knowing your body’s limits to get through the race without injury or incident.

Long-distance road running competitions are mainly conducted on courses of paved or tarmac roads, although major events often finish on the track of a main stadium. In addition to being a common recreational sport, the elite level of the sport – particularly marathon races – are one of the most popular aspects of athletics. Road racing events can be of virtually any distance, but the most common and well known are the marathon, half marathon and 10 km run.(1)

Our training plan for half marathon is quite simple, yet effective so don’t forget to check it out.

Check With Your Doctor First

We just can’t pretend running 13.1 miles is something that’s good for everyone. It has a lot of impact on your joints and soft tissue, particularly if you’re not used to it or in the best shape. Before getting into the real action or even signing up for a race, get the all-clear from your doctor. Running long distances puts a lot of stress on your body and some health conditions can make it very dangerous. If you have any doubts about your health or ability to run, it’s always best to get checked out by a professional first. 

Interested in a half marathon 16 week training plan? What are you waiting for, get started!

Binge Eating the Night Before is a Bad Idea

It’s not uncommon for runners to load up on pasta or other carb-heavy meals the night before a big race. While you do need to make sure you’re taking in enough calories and nutrients to fuel your run, eating too much the night before can actually have the opposite effect and leave you feeling sluggish on race day. 

Stick with your normal diet as much as possible in the days leading up to the race with an emphasis on carbohydrates and then have a small, easily digestible meal or snack a few hours before the start. Something like toast with peanut butter, a banana, or a bagel are all good options. And whatever you do, don’t try any new foods right before race day.

Even after completing a half marathon distance successfully most people go crazy and eat french fries, cake, and anything else they can get their hands on. This is actually a big mistake as your body is already in repair mode and eating junk food will just delay the process. Stick to healthy foods high in protein, vitamins, and minerals to allow your body to recover quickly and completely.

Half marathon running is kind of like a crazy ride; oftentimes, half marathoners use the philosophy of “I can eat whatever I want because I’m running so much.” This type of diet is not sustainable in the long term and can actually do more harm than good. Consuming an unhealthy, high-calorie diet will sabotage your marathon training plan, set you up for weight gain, and make you more likely to get injured or have severe illnesses so finding a balance is key.

Listen to Your Body

Your body gives clear signs and clues when it’s not happy. Unfortunately, when we’re caught up in the moment or trying to push ourselves to reach a goal, we don’t always listen. And this is actually a recipe for disaster. There’s a difference between pushing your limits and pushing yourself too far. If you’re feeling pain, lightheaded, or nauseous, slow down or stop altogether. It’s better to take a break or even walk for a bit than to push through the pain. Maybe it’s a little tick in your shin or a dull headache. Whatever it is, if it’s not going away or getting worse, pay attention. If possible, write down how you’re feeling before, during, and after your runs. Track any changes or patterns in how you feel. Having a lot of pain or other concerning symptoms is a sign that you need to take a break, see a doctor, or modify your training. Sudden cardiac events are very rare but happen, particularly in those with undiagnosed heart conditions. 

● Shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after slowing down or resting
● Chest pain or discomfort that gets worse as you continue running
● Severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion
● Severe nausea or vomiting
● Severe cramping in the abdomen or sides

Don’t take any of these symptoms lightly as they could be signs of a more serious problem. All the newbies are welcome to visit the half marathon training plan for beginners to get more tips.

Bring Your Phone and ID

Nobody is certain of what will happen during a marathon. No matter how much you train or prepare, there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. So, it’s always a good idea to bring your phone and some form of identification with you on the run, just in case. Wear an ID bracelet or put your ID and some cash in a Ziploc baggie that you can safely pin to your clothes. 

Why Do I Get Tired When I Run?

To give a very simple answer, you get tired because your body is using up energy at a faster rate than it can replace it. Long distance runs, in particular, use up a lot of energy. When you run out of energy, your body starts to break down muscle tissue for fuel. However, there are some crucial factors to consider: 

Endurance capacity – lactate threshold, aerobic capacity, mitochondria levels, and musculoskeletal endurance are all components that affect how long you can run before tiring. Each plays a significant role in your overall endurance and can be improved through training.

Type of running workout – getting tired on easy runs is different from intense hill repeats or speed work. The intensity of your workout will influence how quickly you get tired.

Diet – what you eat before, during, and after a run makes a big difference in how your body performs. The right foods help your body to function at its best while the wrong foods can actually sabotage your efforts.

Level of hydration – dehydration causes fatigue, muscle cramps, and even heat stroke. It’s necessary to drink plenty of fluids, especially in hot weather.

Sleep quality – poor sleep makes it hard to concentrate and perform at your best. It takes a toll on your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illness.

Running form – incorrect running form leads to fatigue and injuries, making the matters worse.

Like any other challenge, half marathons have risks and rewards. To live life fully, we need to take risks. But, preparing for and running a half marathon is not a haphazard undertaking. It requires time, commitment, focus, and consistency. To avoid serious consequences like the Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach, take the necessary precautions and be diligent about your training plan half marathon.

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